Introduction

It doesn’t matter too much if you are a self-taught musician or a beginner, the simple act of wanting to learn music implies that you have the desire that is necessary to learn. If you do have that desire however then it might benefit you greatly to seek a teacher than help develop your skill through classical training. Classical musicians are able to understand and comprehend the different components that are integrated into the composition of any type of music. They can hear the difference between one note and another, and they recognize the use of one instrument over another. Those that are taught to play classical music and understand the many working pieces that go into each piece often gain a greater understanding of music overall, and are able to expand their personal range when performing.

Classical Musician Benefits vs. Self-Taught Style

Those that are self taught are very well known to have their own style, technique, and highly adapted improvisation skills, but with a proper teacher such as a classical musician they do miss out on the benefits that classic training offers. There are of course reasons that a musician would choose to self-teach rather than engage in classical training, such as:

1) Classical music instruction is quite costly.

                Despite some lessons being relatively cheap, the cost is all dependent on the skill of the teacher, the prestige that might be affixed to their reputation, and of course the area in which the lessons are being given. The average lesson for any classical training is quite costly, and cannot always be afforded.

2)  Classical musician training can be quite demanding.

                Considering the cost and the privilege that comes with being taught by those that are well-learned in classical music it is understandable that such individuals do not take half-measures when teaching. Learning an instrument takes dedication and hours of practice, and with classical music there is usually only a small margin of error if there is any at all. The level of commitment for classical music training must be high, or the cost will not be worth the result.

3) Self-taught style can be more liberating.

                Music is thought to be an expression of the soul, a celebration of life. While many believe that classical music is both beautiful and adds a layer of mystique to many settings, others tend to see it as a bit pretentious and even stuffy. Self-taught style tends to be looser, more free, but also a bit more random than many might enjoy. Its ability for and reliance upon improvisation can create an amount of discord that many might not consider to be true music, but is in its own right a melody of a different sort. Each type of music has its benefits and drawbacks, but with classical music there is no doubt that whatever is lost in translation, the truth is that the lessons and hours of practice can pay off in many different ways.

                For those that are self-taught it would actually be highly beneficial for them to return to the basics and discover what they can work on to become even better than they might already be. By training with a certified professional they can still express themselves while increasing their depth and range with the help of someone that knows how to unlock the music that has yet to be heard.

                The reasoning behind remaining self-taught and disdaining classical training is quite simple: it is hard to go back to basics when one feels that they are ahead of the game. In truth music is not so different from any another activity in many regards. It requires patience, dedication, stamina, and a well-defined passion for what one chooses to do. Those that are self-taught are free in a way that is not always available to those that decide to enter classic training, but in truth they are also far more confined.  Without proper training, self-taught individuals are in effect limiting themselves in a way that is hard to push past and can quite often discourage many would-be musicians from continuing past the first few weeks or even months of learning.

                Classical training is more than just the strict, rigid stereotype that many believe it to be. There are hard times and there is discipline to be instilled within the budding musician to be certain, but this is not the entire scope of classical training. Instead, this type of training focuses largely upon music theory and its many intricate workings such as rhythm, melodies, and form. With these three simple components any musician can begin to expand their knowledge in a way that will allow them to hear, feel, and create music in a way they might not have imagined possible. Those that have studied classical music and made it their profession are the best teachers for this style. This is because they have been through the lessons and devoted their lives to the practice and art form of music in a way that allows them to transcend the different levels of expertise necessary to instruct others

                Despite the seemingly stodgy feel of classical music it still adheres to the saying that many self-taught and even classically-taught students seem to enjoy. In order to break the rules properly you must first know them inside and out. Classical training grants the learner the rules that are important in creating music to provide a background and the necessary reasoning that will fuel a learner’s musical choices in the future. While being self-taught offers a great deal of freedom and a chance to improvise, it requires far more discipline at times and does not grant an adequate deal of structure.  Classical training can provide both structure and consistency, which, when still learning, can help a student or interested musician immensely.

                Being self-taught means that there is a definite ceiling to your learning as your own experience can only take you so far. If you are able to learn without benefit of a teacher then you are one of the rare few and are to be commended. However, if you are in need of the type of discipline that a classical music instructor can offer then your ceiling will be considerably higher as traditional lessons will grant you a much wider scope with far more options to pull from.  For instance, once your training is ended you can stick to the technique you’ve been taught or seek out a new technique that is more to your liking.

 Classical Training-Vocals

                A self-taught vocal artist is only slightly different from a self-taught musician in that they have a greater degree of risk if they do not seek to refine their technique. A person’s vocal chords cannot be replaced or repaired to their original state if damaged, and so a vocalist takes much more risk on themselves if they do not perform their music in the correct manner. By utilizing the teachings of a professional trainer a vocalist can be told if they are using the vocal chords to their fullest extent and if they are doing so in a safe and efficient manner. Much like a musician, this kind of advice can be used to prevent the vocalist from injury by alerting the vocalist to any undue strain that might have been placed on their body.

Vocalists often find the need to seek out professional teachers that can inform them of what they are doing wrong and how to fix it. Unlike an instrument however a voice is very difficult to modulate or tune, and can take a great deal more time to accomplish. Plus, with routine maintenance and care an instrument will perform as is needed more often than not. With a voice, even greater care must be taken as the “instrument” in this scenario is highly dependent upon the health and habits of the singer.

It doesn’t take much to damage one’s voice, and any classical teacher will be able to inform the vocalist just how to take care of their vocal chords, what might be a good way to practice and keep them in shape.  There are several techniques that can be used to keep one’s vocal chords limber  and in tune, but many teachers would caution a vocalist to speak in moderate tones so as not to place too much strain upon their instrument.

Benefits of Classical Training

By learning in the classical style a musician will also be taught how to read music effortlessly.  Reading sheet music is to many people much like reading another language, but to the well-trained eye the dots, lines, and other symbols make perfect sense and can create a pleasing symphony that they can hear regardless of whether or not any music is playing. Many musicians that are self-taught tend to play by ear, which is quite impressive really but is not entirely practical. Sight reading can help musicians to play their notes quicker, crisper, and with the ability to expand and build upon their already impressive qualities.

Being trained in the classical style can also help in many other parts of life. It has been noted that by learning music that students are able to further develop other skills such as math and language.  This is largely due to the fact that music incorporates a great deal of emphasis upon patterns and speech that can help children and even adults with such disciplines. 

Apart from this music is also considered to be a soothing addition to any environment, as it can reduce stress, cause the muscles to relax, and create an environment of calm that can soothe the body and the mind. The therapeutic side of music is well-documented and can affect the musician just as well as anyone, as it can loosen them up and allow the musician to put more effort into a performance without expending themselves any more than necessary.  This type of relaxation can help one’s metabolism, digestion, and several other bodily functions as well, creating a more balanced lifestyle.

The more practical application of classical training of course is the desire of the learner to become a well-known musician. Millions of aspiring musicians make the decision to become famous at some point in their lives, dreaming of a life spent doing what they love and being paid for it. It is a great deal easier to become a concert pianist or famed vocalist for a group or a solo act if you possess a background in classical training. Being self-taught is quite the achievement, but it is a harder road to travel in order to become known.  By disdaining classical lessons there are too many mistakes to be made, too many hurdles to be climbed, and far too many waiting in line for their turn to be recognized as a noteworthy musician.  Classical training can at least offer an individual the chance to have their name considered or mentioned by their teacher within the right communities.

By participating in a private lesson that emphasizes classical training you will eventually find that you are able to read and interpret music from several different angles. Each lesson will become a chance to enhance your current technique and continue to further understand the ins and outs of how music is formed and what it can mean to the composer. Classical training is a great opportunity to develop your craft and create something that is unlike anything that anyone has heard before.

Conclusion

Music is something that is felt within each individual artist. It has few if any real boundaries save those that are imposed by the creator and composer. Classical training has gained a rather irksome reputation of being dominated by rules, regulations, and a boundary that many musicians both young and old have not seen fit to cross. In reality classical training is the most basic way to understand the wonder and mystique of music so that one can fully appreciate its many complexities in a simple, more refined manner.

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